Images: Afghan Army Leader Wears U.S. Award
Photo by Lt. Col. Stewart Upton
The executive officer for the 1st Brigade of the Afghanistan National Army’s 215th Corps, Col. Mohammed Sarwar Khushal, receives an update from a member of his security team that his soldiers have killed a Taliban leader during operations in Nawa District. U.S. Marine Major Christopher Bourbeau,36, of Worcester Mass, is a security force assistance advisor to the 1st Brigade, opens his notebook to write the name of the Taliban leader down. Khushal wears the U.S. Presidential Unit Citation. The Presidential Unit Citation is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to units of the U.S. Armed Forces and friendly foreign nations for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy. The award is the highest award given to a unit in the United States Military, recognizing group valor equivalent to individual action that would merit the Navy Cross, given for "extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy," according to the Marine Corps award criteria. The "PUC" as it is commonly referred to, was awarded to Khushal for his time with 3rd Brigade of the ANA 205 Corps as they partnered with U.S. Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade in 2009 and 2010 conducting a holistic counterinsurgency campaign over three separate provinces in southern Afghanistan. As the citation reads, they, "struck decisively
at the heart of the Taliban insurgency," regaining control of insurgent safe havens such as Marjah and Now Zad in the process. Referring to the U.S. President, Khushal said, "He gave me this medal; it's a medal from President (Barack) Obama."